The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself

Eight-four years ago, Franklin D Roosevelt uttered the immortal phrase 'The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,' at his Inaugural address as President.


For so many reasons, this short phrase resonates today when fear is gripping many business owners and professionals who are petrified by the digital world.

Despite there being a profusion of case studies and data showing how companies can successfully transform the way they communicate with their customers, many people still have a phobia about anything digital.

Smartphones, Big Data, Social Media, Social Messaging, Mobile Internet, Cloud Computing, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence - all represent change which then manifests itself in a fear of the unknown.

The Economist recently published an excellent article about how we in the Western World 'front load' our education on the young, when in fact learning should be a lifelong process.

Too many of our business owners, industry leaders and politicians - most of whom are older Generation Xers or Baby Boomers - stopped learning anything new years ago and are consequently struggling even to get to grips with their latest iPhone or Samsung, which is unsurprising considering they don't come with an instruction book!

So what can be done to bridge this widening digital divide between youngsters who are digital natives and older people who, ostrich-like, pray that this digital landscape is all one long nightmare?

Here are some simple, steps that can be taken to help you come out from behind the proverbial couch:

* Listen to your children or grandchildren - how do they like to communicate?

* Ask your customers or clients what channels they now use

* Monitor your key competitors closely - of course the best way to do this is via social media but you can still gauge a lot from simply Googling them

* Dip your toe into the water by focusing on just one social media site - LinkedIn is the perfect start

* Analyse what sales and marketing channels work best for you. Are you getting a decent ROI on your investment? If not, then there's your reason to change

* Keep learning. As I wrote in one of my other articles, it is vital to Innovate, Educate and Relate


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